Calgary held a unique event this week: Super Mobile Con – an afternoon of best practices, stories from the field, and a look at some of the most innovative new mobile applications and mobile strategies from leading Canadian companies like Shaw, Trans Canada, Deco Windshields, Oilfield Exchange, GoForth Institute and more.
The event was the brainchild of the team of app geniuses at Robots and Pencils Inc, whose clients are all thought-leaders in the mobile space. “Why not share what we’ve learned?” was the prevailing attitude during the successful half-day conference.
The room was packed with IT people, business-types and programming geeks and was standing room only. The main feeling in the room was not whether or not companies should go mobile, but how. If you’re not part of the mobile revolution, you will be run over by it.
It was fun to be surrounded by thought leaders in many different industries who were doing some amazing things in the app space. Thanks to Robots and Pencils for inviting us to be there for the inaugural conference! We’re really proud of all you’re doing to bring mobile apps to so many industries, and we’re really proud of our partnership with you in education.
A coming new year gives us an opportunity to take a breath in business – see from where we’ve come, and where we need to go next year. At GoForth, 2011 was our best year yet. We’re three years old now, have an established reputation in the small business training industry and are signing deals that will see our education delivered to thousands of people next year. What preceded this year’s success, of course, was lots of hard work of the 20 hours a day, seven days a week kind. Success doesn’t happen overnight – it comes to those who are diligent, hard-working types who never give up. If entrepreneurship was easy, everyone would do it!
The fact is that 70% of our little small businesses in Canada don’t make it to their fifth year of operation. There are many reasons for business closure, but one of the most prevalent is owners deciding to close shop and find employment. Take time at the end of this year to celebrate your successes – new customers, new markets, new products or services. Even tiny positive changes should be celebrated. These small incremental steps eventually lead to greater success – if you can withstand the stresses of business-building along the way. Make sure to acknowledge the people who are supporting you – you family, employees, customers, suppliers and others – for their role in your business. Remember also to contribute to the fabric of social entrepreneurship in your community. Give of your time or talent to help make your community that much more wonderful.
As we close out 2011, raise a glass to another year of being in business. Small businesses are the engines of economic growth in this country – the heroes who create employment for others, create innovative products and services, and contribute to our communities.
May the joy and peace of this season be with you and your family,
We’ve all heard the line “Do one thing every day that scares you,” or we’ve read it on a Lululemon product bag. But why would we want to do something every day that scares us? Petting an angry dog scares me, so why would I want to do it? Sounds pretty negative to me and not very motivating.
I believe in the benefits of expanding our worldview and understanding of our selves, so I like to do something every day that stretches me. I recognize that great success and happiness are only possible when we’re willing to take a little risk. Stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zone is a conscious activity that calls for courage and vigilance. And sometimes the only way we can find that strength is to take it one step at a time.
Try to remember the last time you resisted, avoided or delayed doing an activity that made you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. What made you feel uncomfortable?
Now spend some time visualizing yourself actually doing whatever it was that you resisted, avoided or delayed. Create a vivid picture of yourself being fearless throughout the activity. You’ve done this 100 times before; it’s completely comfortable. Doing one thing every day that stretches us means that we’re going to learn something, and have a deeper appreciation of our true selves and abilities. And for an entrepreneur, this can only mean a more rewarding and enriching small business experience.
After two years of 20-hour days in start-up, I honestly believe that starting and running a successful company is a linked series of tests – almost daily tests of personal ability, skill, agility, determination, worthiness and limits. Theory is for the classroom. The real tests begin outside of the classroom.
Every day, entrepreneurs are faced with circumstances so unique to them that new or novel strategies, tactics or actions have to be developed to deal with them. Business schools teach theory that mostly apply to big companies – companies with the benefit of resources, people and support. In small business, theory does not help us create unique solutions to problems we hadn’t planned on. Instead, our survival depends on the entrepreneur’s ability to respond to new information and to execute correctly.
For some, facing new challenges every day is the joy of running a business. For others, it is simply too overwhelming and one of the factors associated with the high rate of business closure.
I get up every morning knowing that something somewhere will challenge me, make me stretch, make me work harder that day. I also know that the more tests we pass, the more incremental successes we have, and the more confident we become in our abilities and skills as entrepreneurs. This is the beauty of experience. Relish in your success every day knowing you’ve just passed another real-life test of being an entrepreneur.